The FAO report on the State of the World’s Fisheries released this week covering data for 2010 and estimates for 2011.
Globally, the report showed that capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied the world with about 148 million tones of fish in 2010, of which about 128 million tones of fish was utilized as food for humans. Preliminary data for 2011 indicate increased production of 154 million tones, of which 131 million was destined for food. Aquaculture production reached grew 7.5 percent in 2010, reaching 59.9 million tones, and is expected to grow to 63.6 million tones in 2011.
Today fish provides more than 4.3 billion people with about 15 per cent of their intake of animal protein. Estimates for 2011 point to fish consumption reaching a record new high of 18.8kg per person.
In 2010 wild fisheries capture fell to 88.6 million tones. However, in 2011 wild capture is forecast to increase to its highest level in six years, around 90.4 million tones. Stimulated by higher demand for fish, world fisheries and aquaculture production is projected to reach about 172 million tones in 2021.
The report also warns that Illegal and unregulated fishing is rampant worldwide, particularly off the coasts of West Africa and the Horn of Africa, and accounts for between US$10 billion and $23 billion of direct losses globally every year. It also goes on to note that the primary threats undermining the food and nutrition security potential of fisheries and aquaculture result principally from ineffective management coupled with poor conservation of habitats – and states that a transition towards people-centered approaches is required to enhance the sector’s contribution to food and livelihoods security.
In the report, FAO calls on governments to boost their efforts to ensure sustainable fisheries around the world, noting that many of the marine fish stocks monitored by the agency are under great pressure as nearly 30 per cent of them are overexploited, and 57 per cent are fully exploited, meaning that they are at their maximum sustainable production.